Computer Consultant Skills: Do You Have to Have 20 Certifications?

By , November 26, 2014 3:30 am

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Computer consultant skills don’t have to be bleeding edge. Since most small businesses don’t keep up with cutting edge technology, various levels of expertise can be possible for a computer consultant.
computer-consultant, computer consultant, computer-consultants, computer consultants
I’ve had more than one person tell me, “Well, I’m a MCP or I’m a CNA and I’ve got this one cert but I’m working on like 15 more certs and as soon as I get my 19th cert, five years from now, I’ll be all set to be a computer consultant.” That’s just a hunk of bologna. Know why?

Small Business Aren’t Using Cutting-Edge Technology

Most small businesses don’t care how many certifications you have. Small businesses are usually at least 12-18 months behind the curve from an IT standpoint. Sometimes they’re as much as two years behind the curve. There is no ego-driven CEO or corporate salesperson in small businesses advocating upgrading every 12 months just for the sake of upgrading.

Some Small Business Technology is Outdated

As a computer consultant, what kind of hardware and software and peripherals and infrastructure would you be working with in a typical small business? A lot of their equipment will be just fine and some will need updates and upgrades.

But there’s very little stress among small-business technology to keep up with the latest and the greatest bleeding edge. So that removes a lot of the early-adopter stress out of the equation for you, the beginning computer consultant.

Do You Have the Skills to be A Computer Consultant?

Do other people come to you for computer advice? Do people ask you for help with their software and hardware and getting their PDA to talk to Outlook or sync up their wi-fi, etc.? Are they coming to you for help because it’s part of your job or simply because you’ve developed a reputation as the kind of guy or gal that knows a little more about PCs and notebooks and software and the Internet and viruses than the average person? Are you already perceived as a good resource person for these kinds of problems? If so, you’ll make a great computer consultant

A Computer Consultant’s Skills Vary

It really doesn’t matter how junior or senior your skills are, there’s definitely a place for you in helping small businesses with IT problems. Just like there’s are entry level and senior staff within a corporate IT department, there’s all also different levels you can perform in as a computer consultant.

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5 Quick & Dirty Tips For Using Microsoft FrontPage To Make Better Looking Websites

By , November 24, 2014 6:54 am

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Having problems creating a good looking website Don’t worry…with 5 simple to use features of Microsoft FrontPage, you can make your site look more professional in a matter of minutes.
Microsoft FrontPage, WYSWYG, FrontPage tutorial
Building professional looking websites can definitely be challenging.

While anyone in the world can learn the basics of html and get an operational site up and running on the internet, making a site that looks attractive can be another story altogether!

The internet abounds with cheap-looking mom and pop sites that look like they were designed by a first year html student.

Do you want your web sites to look like that

I hope not. Especially when it is so gosh-darn easy to make your sites look more professional using Microsoft FrontPage.

Here are 5 ways FrontPage can instantly make your websites look more professional.

1. High Quality Photos And Clipart Collection – Few people actually know how great the Microsoft Clipart collection is. This collection of images is created and maintained by one of the richest corporations in the world. It absolutely crushes any other collection I’ve seen on the internet in terms of quantity and quality of available pictures.

Best part…It’s free for FrontPage owners!

There are over a million clipart pictures and photos, all searchable by keyword.

And if you have an active internet connection, you can search this online gallery from within FrontPage while you work.

Adding some original looking, nice photographs to each page of your site can instantly take up space, add a professional look. This is better than simply having the affiliate link.

2. The Interactive Button Features – In Microsoft FrontPage 2003, there is a new feature called ‘Interactive Buttons’.

Basically, you can choose from over 200 different types of ready-made buttons to use on your website. These buttons look fantastic and can be created and edited with 1 click.

Before you would have to pay a graphic designer or spend hours creating these types of rollover buttons yourself, but FrontPage 2003 does it all for you.

Using these buttons can add a big dose of professional looks to your site in a matter of seconds.

3. Using HTML Tables – It goes without saying that the content of your webpages should usually be placed in some sort of html table. FrontPage makes it easy to create tables and add content, simply by using a button on the toolbar.
You can use this to center the content on your page and create neat looking tables once you get the hang of it (it is easy). This way, your content isn’t scattered all around the page.

4. Included Content – This feature of FrontPage allows you to make changes to hundreds of webpages, simply by changing the content of one html page. For example, I mentioned above that you should use the interactive buttons feature to create a navigation system. You can also ‘include’ this navigation system on all of your webpages with a special feature in FrontPage.

This way, if you want to add another category or link to all of the pages on your site, you simply need to open up one webpage, the ‘navigation.htm’ page, and change the contents of that page.

The changes will immediately be reflected on hundreds of pages on your website.

You can see this is 10,000x more easy than going through and manually editing the links bar on each page!

5. Web Forms – Using the web forms feature of FrontPage, you can create a feedback form for your website. Not only do these forms look nice, but they also can help you to alleviate your spam problems.

Many a webmaster has paid extravagant fees to other companies for form processing, when it has been available to FrontPage users free and easy for years.

You can create any kind of feedback form in a matter of minutes, and have the results of the form submission sent to any email address that you choose.

To conclude:

I have just given you 5 very valuable tools for creating professional looking websites fast.

While it may not sound like much, consider this:

Let’s say you spend $50 and get a nice looking banner graphic for your new affiliate website.

Then you create a neat html table, past in the banner, and use the interactive buttons feature of FrontPage 2003 to create a navigation system.

You can use the same general template for each new page you create (for articles, and other information about the product you are promoting).

After that, you top each page off with a nice looking photo or two from the Microsoft Clipart collection.

Using these basic techniques, in only an hour or 2 you can easily put together a professional looking website site.

You can get more Microsoft FrontPage website building tips via the tips newsletter at http://www.fphowto.com

Computer Consulting: A Business of Time and Sweat Equity

By , November 22, 2014 9:56 am

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Computer consulting businesses require a lot of sweat equity and time. Consider whether you want to start from scratch, buy a franchise or buy a business established in computer consulting.
Computer consulting, computer consulting business, small business computer consulting
Building a computer consulting business requires a lot of time. It involves going out to meetings and it’s shaking a lot of hands. You’ll need to make a lot of follow-up phone calls. Display ads and direct mail drops and similar marketing efforts do not replace calling up a potential client to try to establish a person-to-person connection. Because of the required hands-on time, you should be realistic about what it takes to get your computer consulting business going.

Franchises Don’t Serve Silver Platters

Even with a franchise operation, the franchiser is not handing you a client list on a silver platter. If you want to be handed a client list on one, don’t buy a franchise: you need to buy a current business. And of course, buying a current business is even more capital intensive than a franchise. To buy even a small, thriving IT consulting firm could cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars?pretty much some multiple of its annual sales.

What Are Your Computer Consulting Business Start-Up Costs?

On the other hand, you can start your own consulting firm generally for as little as a few thousand dollars. What do you need? You need a business phone number and voice mail. You need a cell phone. You need business cards and legal licensing registrations. And you probably want to meet with an attorney and an accountant. You’ll need some insurance. In many cases you can get started working out of your home office. Start-up costs are certainly higher with a franchise.

Franchises Aren’t for Control Freaks

Another downside of franchise can be a loss of control. You have to do things a certain way and according to the established rules. And you can’t step too far outside of that. Again, your company would be paying the franchiser a percentage of your company’s revenue indefinitely. And you won’t have as much flexibility in taking your business in a lot of different directions that you may want to.

The Bottom Line on Computer Consulting

Computer consulting has a few different options for start-up. You can start an independent business, buy a franchise or buy an established business, depending if you want to start from scratch or be handed a client list. A start-from-scratch computer consulting business requires more sweat equity than money.

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Cyber Security and Online Shopping

By , November 20, 2014 12:43 pm

With the popularity of online shopping today, the importance of cyber security becomes essential to everyone. Shopping, even in the real world, involves money and where there is money, there go the criminals. And since much shopping is now happening in cyber space, these criminals lost no time in following the money trail targeting online shoppers.

Online shopping became fashionable when people discovered one is free from stress and fatigue caused by crowds and traffic. There is also the convenience of searching whatever it is you want from your home, at your most convenient time, and paying for it without waiting in line. All of these with just a few click of a mouse.

However, the Internet is also a convenient place for cyber criminals as well. They target the online shoppers, fraudulently obtaining information they can use for their own financial gains. These criminals use the three most common ways in attacking the online shoppers.

Unprotected computers
Unprotected computers are easy target for viruses and other malicious codes used by cyber criminals to gain access to the information inside it. On the other end, online vendors have to protect their computers, too, against attackers who may access their customer databases.

Fake sites and email messages
In the virtual online world, a site (or an online store) can be faked by these criminals, with no one the wiser. These fake sites mimic the legitimate ones and inherit the business, at least until they are caught or noticed.

Charities had been misrepresented before, especially during natural disasters or holiday seasons where people pour in donation money and aid. Most often, though, these attackers collect information for their own illegal use.

Cyber safety measures
Maintaining an up-to-date anti-virus program, a firewall and anti-spyware is always the three-pronged first line of defense in cyber security. They protect you against viruses and Trojan horses that may steal or modify your data and make your computer vulnerable. Spyware may also give the attackers access to your data.

Updated browser
Browsers are the gateway between your computer and the Internet. They must be updated first. Also, open the option of automatic updates to your computer so that the operating programs and utilities are up to date.

It is likewise important to check the default settings of your computer and apply the highest level of security. This will preempt the attackers to use default setting of the programs. This applies primarily to browsers, email clients, etc. because these are the connectors to the Internet.

Reputable vendors
This is where care should be taken because cyber criminals are very good at mimicking the sites of legitimate vendors and make it appear genuine. You need to verify their legitimacy before supplying any information. Keep the phone numbers and the physical addresses of these vendors which you can use in case of problems.

Security features and private policies
As always, passwords and other security features add protection, if correctly used. Check the site’s privacy policy before giving out personal or financial information. You have to understand how your information are stored and used.

Encrypted information
Make sure the information you give out are encrypted. To check if it is, see if it includes a URL that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. Know where the padlock icon is located in your favorite browser because some attackers use fake padlock icons to trick users.

Use your credit card
Credit card charges have laws that limit your liability in case of fraud. This may not be the case for your debit card. Because debit cards draw money directly from your bank account, unauthorized withdrawals could leave you penniless. Needless to say, a record of your purchases should be kept aside. Report immediately any discrepancy.

Shopping online is truly a time-saving, hassle-free, and fun way of buying whatever you want on the Internet. The presence of the ubiquitous cyber criminals stalking at every cyber corner necessitates the need of cyber security as well.

It is everyone’s responsibility.

Cyber Security Threats

By , November 18, 2014 3:44 pm

Cyber security is about protecting your computer from any threat that may use you data and information without authority, protect you machine from different threats like viruses, worms, spyware, and malware. When these threats are blended together, they can overload and shut down systems and resources.

Everybody seems to rely on computer nowadays, bill payments can be done online, communication, transportation, entertainment and other aspects of our lives depend or influenced by computers. This is why computer or cyber security threats are important to be dealt immediately.

There are different kinds of cyber security threats, for example, our browsers are not that safe anymore. Browsers have vulnerabilities where expert hackers can exploit codes and passwords. Hackers would use even our trusted websites to make these attacks. This is why software manufacturers are investing on security to setup tools that would protect users even on trusted sites.

Another alarming security threat is that there are an increased number of incidents where national records are extracted. Economic data of a nation or state can fall victims to cyber theft. National and state governments are not the only victims, in the United Kingdom cyber theft is recognized to be among the biggest crime in the country. Cyber theft could include credit card fraud, illegal bank transfers and phishing attacks.

Phising attacks are fraudulent processes where sensitive personal and financial information are asked from an individual. People would fall victims to phishing scams since they pose as legal and trustworthy institutions, they are normally send out through emails and instant messaging.

Computers are not the only targets of cyber threats, mobile phones are also being attacked by worms, viruses, and malware. Mobile phones are very susceptible to hackers and also viruses. Old cellphones can be immune to viruses, but new cellphones, the smart ones, because of their standardized operating system are now in risk of viruses.

Multimedia messaging services or MMS can send multiple copies of the phone address book or copy the phone book into a new handset just within a couple of minutes. Aside from that it could also infect other phones within the area and disrupt communication protocols.

Cyber-terrorism is also another increasing cyber security threat experienced by users. Some experts would say that cyber terrorism is just the same as hacking. But experts would agree that it is intended to create or start fear, physical harm or death by using electronic methods.

An example would be the case in Romania, where terrorists were able to control the life support systems in an Antartic research station, putting 58 scientists in danger. This kind of attack can affect a great deal of people, weaken the economy and even make the country vulnerable to military attacks.

Another common cyber security problem would be the attacks of people themselves, like disgruntled employees. In a survey conducted by the Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm, 1 out 3 workers would jot down their passwords. This is not the best security practice since jotted down passwords can be lost and used by unsatisfied workers.

There are increasing number of cyber security threats that needs to be addressed immediately. Long-term plans and solutions should be created to address the increasing number of victims. While we wait for government and organizations to come up with long-term solutions, it is our individual responsibility to make sure that we keep our personal and work-related information safe.

Allume Systems is More than StuffIt

By , November 16, 2014 6:03 pm

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Looking for ways to make your computer faster and better Allume Systems has all sorts of software options that will work for you.
Allume Systems
If you own a Mac, you’ve probably heard of Allume Systems. Even if you don’t know the name, you have probably used a version of Allume Systems’ popular software StuffIt.

StuffIt allows you to compress, send and expand files of any type on your computer. It even works with WinZip files and tar, gzip and bzip extensions. StuffIt Deluxe take the whole system a step farther by allowing you to compress jpeg photos up to 30 percent with no loss in quality.

But there’s a lot more to Allume Systems than StuffIt, it turns out. Allume Systems offers all sorts of programs for your computer at work and play.

CheckIt is Allume Systems’ repair and performance suite for Macs. This power package of programs includes Allume Systems’ SpringCleaning, an uninstaller and cleanup utility that helps you get rid of unnecessary and redundant files; TechTool Platinum, a diagnostic and repair tool; and EMC Dantz Retrospect Express, a backup and restore program.

All of the Allume Systems products are easy to use, quick to install and incredibly powerful and useful.

Allume Systems offers even more great utilities for Mac users, including: DragStrip, a sort of combination dock and favorites file that gives you one-click access to your most accessed documents, web sites and more; ShrinkWrap, which makes byte-for-byte copies of any data; FlashBack, which lets you access old copies of a document like an endless undo key; Secure Delete, a digital document shredder; and iClean, which deletes cookies, your cache and history files. to protect your privacy and help you regain space.

If PC users are feeling a little bit left out at this point, Allume Systems has PC versions of DragStrip and FlashBack, as well as a PC performance-improvement suite called BoostXP. And Allume Systems also has a version of StuffIt for Linux and Windows, so no matter what operating system you run, you can compress and expand files with ease.

Allume Systems also has software that will help you get your creative juices flowing, control digital audio, even stay entertained with games for lovers of action or family fun games.

And for those times when you just need to relax and look at something calming, Allume Systems has you covered there, too. Allume Systems is the maker of AquaZone, the ultimate three-dimensional computerized aquarium. This program, available for both Macintosh and Windows computers, features 40 different kinds of fish, sharks, turtles, jellyfish and more in a realistic-looking undersea world. You can feed the fish, zoom in on one fish and follow it around, choose backgrounds and more.

If you’re looking for ways to make your computer more powerful, run better and smarter or are just looking for a little fun, Allume Systems has all sorts of software options that will work for you.

10 Questions To Ask Yourself And Determine If You Are Spyware Savvy

By , November 14, 2014 9:38 pm

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Most of us who use computers are afraid of spyware and the problems it causes. So, you learn all about spyware and the ways to protect yourself from it. How will you know whether you have complete knowledge Well what you can do is to surf the World Wide Web for the latest on spyware and computer security.
Free Software Downloads , free anti-virus software, free spyware detection software, free toolbars, free chat software
Most of us who use computers are afraid of spyware and the problems it causes. So, you learn all about spyware and the ways to protect yourself from it. How will you know whether you have complete knowledge Well what you can do is to surf the World Wide Web for the latest on spyware and computer security.

You can test your knowledge by taking self-tests and quizzes. Companies like Microsoft are very consumer friendly and make an effort to upload tons of information on computers and software for users in search of knowledge.

According to Microsoft you can test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

1. How will you prevent children from accidentally downloading spyware

The answer must be: You can prevent children from downloading spyware by giving them a limited user account.

2. What are browser cookies

Ans: These are created by unethical persons to track your browsing preferences for their own use, to spam your pc with advertisements and marketing ploys, to steal personal information like bank account details, credit card numbers and so on, and to cause harm to your computer and business by stealing data/files.

3. How can you use technology to protect your computer

Ans: Many giants in computer technology are offering software and hardware to prevent spyware attacks. For example Windows Defender Beta 2 is one option.

4. What is Windows Defender

Ans: It is an anti-spyware software that can detect spyware and warn you immediately, inform you of possible dangers and new spywares, remove spyware. It protects your PC against pop ups, slow functioning, security threats, and infections.

5. What are common signs that show your computer is infected

Ans: Signs are unwarranted pop ups, strange PC behavior, change in homepage settings, appearance of new tool bars not installed by you, slowing down of computer, loss of files, crashing of computer, and so on.

6. What are the precautions to be taken
Ans: Precautions are: install a fire wall, update all software, pay attention to security settings, use anti-spyware programs, use the internet safely.

7. Is a firewall useful

Ans: Yes, it examines all information and acts as a filter anything even faintly suspicious will not be permitted, it will create a protective cloak and prevent undesirable sources from detecting your computer on the net.

8. How does spyware work and what protects your computer

Ans: A spyware is a thief it can use information on you, steal files, and place undesirable material on your computer. The pc must be protected by use of firewall, anti-spyware hardware as well as software, and careful browsing as well as downloads.

9. Where can you get protection against spyware

Ans: There are many choices a few are: Platinum Internet security 2005, Microsoft Beta 2, Webroot Spy Sweeper, Sunbelt Counter Spy, and Spybot.

10. Name three security measures

Ans: One must not open e-mails with attachments from unknown sources; use a spam guard for all e-mail accounts, and avoid using messengers.

These days knowledge is available at the click of a mouse button so update your knowledge base and keep abreast of new developments.

Computer lessons for beginners : how to use a computer mouse

By , November 13, 2014 12:08 am

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Learn how to hold the computer mouse:
Hold the sides of the mouse with your thumb on one side and ring finger or pinkie, which ever feels more comfortable to you, on the other side. Your index finger goes on the left button and your middle finger on the right button. (Some computer mice only have one button, some have several, some have a wheel which you can use your middle finger to depress the wheel then turn it up or down to scroll pages very quickly or slow depending on how quickly you tur
computer , computer tips
Learn how to hold the computer mouse:
Hold the sides of the mouse with your thumb on one side and ring finger or pinkie, which ever feels more comfortable to you, on the other side. Your index finger goes on the left button and your middle finger on the right button. (Some computer mice only have one button, some have several, some have a wheel which you can use your middle finger to depress the wheel then turn it up or down to scroll pages very quickly or slow depending on how quickly you turn the wheel. Personally I love the wheel and would not have a mouse without it!) When you are told to ‘click’ use the button under your index finger, or the left button.

Learn how to move the computer mouse:
Slowly slide the mouse around on the mouse pad. See what happens to the arrow on the screen as you slide it around.

Do you need a mouse pad:
You should have a mouse pad under your mouse, (although the new optic mice do not require one). You will have an array of choices when purchasing a mouse pad; find the one that is comfortable for you. Rest your hand on the mouse pad or desk and move it slowly, there is no need to lift the mouse off the mouse pad unless you run out of room, then you just lift it up and reposition where needed. You don’t need to move the mouse to the left or right, simply slide it left or right with the buttons still facing away from you.

What does clicking do:
Clicking sends a command to the computer. To click, gently press and release the left computer mouse button. Be careful not to move the mouse while you are clicking, if you accidentally do simply slide the mouse back to where you want to click and try again. Try to keep you hand relaxed on the mouse as you press and release without lifting your finger completely off the button.

You are Done – Great job! That is all you need to know to start using your computer and that mouse. Keep working on it and before you know it, it will feel like second nature to you and you will not even have to think about what you are doing.

Computer Consulting Training: Should you get this or clients first?

By , November 11, 2014 3:41 am

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Computer consulting training can be done at the same time as recruiting clients. You have many different options for improving your skills in computer consulting training.
Computer consulting training
A big question when starting out is comparable to the chicken and the egg dilemma. Do you get computer consulting training first and then look for clients? Or do you look for clients and then get the relevant training. In this article, you’ll learn why it’s best to do them both at the same time.

How About Both?

When guiding owners of new computer consulting firms, my general preference is to do both client recruitment and skills development at the same time. You shouldn’t take six months off to do computer consulting training because six months later, how are you going to pay the bills? You need paying clients to survive and thrive in the computer consulting business.

On the other hand, if you let six months to a year go by and you’re not keeping your technical skills sharp, at some point you’re not going to be able to take on the high-end projects anymore. You’re not going to bid with confidence on certain kinds of small business accounts.

The Ideal Scenario

Here’s the way most small business IT consulting firms and most computer resellers generally balance this perpetual challenge of computer consulting training versus obtaining clients. Some spend a couple of days a month or a couple of weeks a year going to formal classroom training.

In addition, most consulting firms have “lab systems?(for testing and computer consulting training) in their offices so these firms can work with basic, entry-level server hardware. These lab systems can be used to do informal, self-guided computer consulting training on a continual basis.

Consider a Program

You can belong to many different programs that allow you to get you copies of software for your own internal use and training. If your firm is a Microsoft Certified Partner (), your company gets a certain amount of software for your internal use. Lots of vendor partners do the exact same thing as part of their annual program membership fee.

This evaluation software is a great way to keep your technical skills sharp. Because you’re running the programs internally, you and your staff are getting very proficient on the software before you go out and set it up in the field.

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Cyber Security Regulations

By , November 9, 2014 6:37 am

Cyber security is meant to protect personal and work-related data and information stored in our computer and personal websites. With the increase of individuals, organizations, and members of the community falling prey to cyber crimes and security attacks, there is an increase in demands for more measures to be taken.

Alarmingly, the number of people getting affected cyber security attacks is increasing. According to a research by Panda Software in 2006, 1 out of 5 e-mail messages that corporate servers receive are spam and 1 out of 20 is infected with malware. Consumer Reports released a report in 2006 showing that United States consumers would spend $7.8 billion over the last two years for computer repairs and replacements because security attacks like malware and viruses.

Security attacks like these do not only costs an individual repairs, businesses, organizations and the national economy could suffer losses. In 2005, cyber crime led to a loss of whopping $130.1 million, all because of viruses, unauthorized access to computer systems and personal and financial information theft.

There are numerous measures that should be taken by the government to help resolve cyber crimes and attacks. In the United States, there are different legislations in the executive and Congress level that are meant to protect computer systems and other medium of information technology. This is called cyber-security regulations.

Cyber –security regulations is to make sure that companies and private institutions would be using or protecting their systems from any cyber attacks like viruses, worms, phishing, denial of service and unauthorized access.

The United States Chamber of Commerce said that there are about 64 % of small businesses that are getting protection for their systems to protect their customer’s financial information. While there are about 72 % of businesses expressed concern about security of the company’s assets and information.

In the United States, there are cyber-security regulations, for both federal and estate governments. For federal government cyber security regulations, they focus mainly on specific industries and fields, healthcare, organizations, financial institutions and agencies that work with systems and information. Unfortunately, this regulation do not reach and cover computer related industries like Internet Service Providers (ISP).

Additional to this, the federal government is also trying to resolve issues of cyber security breach by allocating more funds in research and programs directed to research better solutions and recommendations for improving cyber security. The government is collaborating with members of the private sector.

Meanwhile, states are forming their own methods of dealing with security attacks. An example is the regulation passed by the California State in 2003 called Notice of Security Breach Act. Different states have followed the example of California and created their own anti-breach regulations and standard procedure.

There has been an ongoing debate about cyber security regulation. There are people who comments that creating a regulation is not the answer and not enough, what is needed is better defenses against hackers, viruses and similar threats. The regulation is said to restrict industries to develop programs and software that would boost cyber security. Aside form this, businesses also fears that having the regulation will cut back their healthy profits since they would meet more limitations and would cost them more.

But inspite of regulations and software that could protect your computer and systems, still the best way to boost cyber security is preventing any attacks from happening in the first place. There are easy tips that could be followed to avoid cyber attacks from happening.

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